Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #4

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: From The Beginning

This review was first published on: Mar 2013.

Background...

And what is “Spidey’s Greatest Talent,” according to this spread? It’s “the ability to climb walls and stick to any surface!”

In Detail...

"Spidey's Greatest Talent"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #4 (Story 4)
Editor:  Stan Lee
Writer:  Stan Lee
Pencils:  Larry Lieber
Inker:  Mike Esposito
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Annual (UK) 1979

Some nice perspective drawings here by our mystery penciller. In the first panel, Spidey extends straight out to the right while sticking with his hands to a wall on the left. In the next panel, he is running up a wall at a gunman who is too shaken to shoot straight. (“In case you’re wondering, the gentleman in the window was eventually captured and later turned over a new leaf! We hate to leave loose ends!” says Stan.) The third panel is the best, with Spidey sticking to the ceiling as two gunmen walk below him. (Stan says, “One thing you must admit..we’ve presented about a zillion panels of this type since Spidey was first introduced, right? So…how come we got a letter just the other day, asking why we always call our hero a wall-crawler?!! Sheeesh!”) The fourth panel shows Spidey walking a tight rope. The fifth has always been one of my favorite poses: Spidey hanging upside down, reading a newspaper, his heels pressed together with a strand of webbing in between.

The following two-page spread showcases the different uses of Spidey’s webbing. It’s all done in a montage that also guest-stars J. Jonah Jameson, two kids and a guy with a flame-thrower. Here are demonstrated Spidey’s web parachute, safety net (“Our thanks to Jolly Jonah Jameson, who volunteered to demonstrate Spidey’s safety net webbing after being slightly shoved through his office window!”), air-tight web ball, emergency bridge and make shift shield, “asbestos-coated yet!” (Again with the asbestos!)

Next up is one of my favorite pin-ups. Spidey holds a platform on which stand the Thing, Hercules, Thor, the Sub-Mariner, and the Hulk, all of whom are stronger than he is. “No matter who you are, there’s always someone stronger!” Spidey says. (Unless you’re the Hulk.) “No wonder I’m riddled with phobias and deep-rooted hang-ups!”

“Say ‘Hello’ to Spidey’s Favorite Foes!” is a nice snapshot of who the main villains are in 1967. Clockwise from top left (as we circle around a huge spider-signal) are “the Lovable Lizard,” “the Green Goblin,” “the Sinister Sandman,” “the New Vulture” (Cool huh? Blackie Drago! In that short period of time between his defeat in Amazing Spider-Man #49, June 1967 and the return of the original in Amazing Spider-Man #63, August 1968.), “Ever-Lovin’ Electro,” “the Rampaging Rhino,” “Darlin’ Doc Ock,” and “Kraven, the Hunter.” Stan finishes this spread by touting, “and wait’ll you see the new ones in store for you and Spidey in the months to come! They’ll flip you outta your web, Charlie!” But it’s interesting that, 45 years later, these are mainly the guys you would think of if you’re listing Spidey’s “favorite foes.”

In General...

The wall-crawling spread has some nice perspectives and you’ve gotta love the “Favorite Foes” spread. Spidey hoisting the Thing and company is a classic pin-up.

Overall Rating...

Four webs for these.

Footnote...

I know I'm asking a lot of you but there's only one more to go! Petey's Pad!